In The Pursuit of Justice: A Prosecutor's Memoir
By Lothar R. Genge
Reviewed by Jacqueline Hutchins
Genge's In The Pursuit of Justice recounts a kind of American dream: Genge moved to the U.S. from Germany after World War II and worked hard to master English. He earned a spot at Columbia University, and landed in a position of power in the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, and later in the DOJ as a Special Strike Force Prosecutor. It is this power that is the real protagonist of Genge's work. Tb use the Austenian phrase, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a prosecutor has a good deal of power within the criminal justice system, and good prosecutors are mindful of this. What better way to interrogate this power than in a prosecutor's memoir? If hindsight is 20-20, as the saying goes and Genge says on page one, this could be a useful and edifying exercise. Unfortunately, these pages read more like the glory days reminiscence of a boozy uncle who took someone at their word when told, "You should write a book!", than the wise admonitions of Peter Parker's Uncle Ben. He recounts a police escort that sped him along the highways of New York to ensure he made a ski trip on time. He speaks, awestruck, of one of his supervisors who, on a typical Friday afternoon of unsanctioned drinks and cigars at the office, decided to "create" jurisdiction over a case ("The fact that our office lacked jurisdiction was never raised."), which resulted in a state prison sentence for the defendant and the eternal admiration of the memoirist. He is certainly aware of inequities in the system; at one point he speaks of "social and economic systems that created an underclass of...